St. Louis' MetroBus has the distinction of being recognized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a model for transit asset management.

Highlighted by the FTA in the July 26 Federal Register was a case study of Metro transit’s bus maintenance program and how it has been able to extend the lifespan of buses by 25% and decrease the rate of breakdowns by 85%, resulting in service reliability for the customer and substantial cost savings for the taxpayer.

Research, academic literature and external reviews from organizations like the U.S. Government Accountability Office emphasize many benefits of asset management programs for transit systems, including:

  • Improved transparency and accountability.
  • Better service for passengers.
  • Potential safety benefits.
  • Overall lifecycle cost savings through optimized investment and maintenance decisions.
  • Increased effectiveness of maintenance and reduction in unplanned repairs.

Starting on Oct. 1, 2016, the FTA will require public transportation agencies to develop and implement asset management plans.

Two key aspects of Metro’s success are the close monitoring of each bus in the fleet and the proactive replacement of key components instead of waiting for them to fail. The average lifecycle of a MetroBus is now 15 years and 825,000 miles traveled. The transit industry standard is 12 years and 600,000 miles traveled.

Additionally, overall MetroBus reliability has increased substantially as the time between bus breakdowns has increased from 3,400 miles in 2000 to more than 22,000 miles today.